The Madeleine School photo
Madeleine Friendship Family shares a picnic at the beginning of school year.
The Madeleine School photo
Madeleine Friendship Family shares a picnic at the beginning of school year.
The physical growth of Madeleine School students from their kindergarten year to their eighth grade year is never more striking than when "Friendship Partners" walk the hall together on their way to an activity.

Every year each student is assigned to a “Friendship Family” and every kindergartner receives a fourth grade and eighth grade friendship partner.

Throughout the year, the families participate in a variety of activities designed to build friendships, unite the student body and do service for others.

A favorite is the “Building Structure” contest. During the St. Vincent de Paul food drive, every student is encouraged to bring in pantry items and canned goods. At the end of the drive, students bring their items to the gym and each friendship family builds a unique structure out of the supplies. The family that donated the most items will have the opportunity to be more creative.

Fourth graders can’t wait to go to the zoo at the end of the year with their kindergarten Friendship Partners, and the eighth graders have a blast creating and organizing games for field day. Friendship Families run the circuit of events as a group.

Staff developed the Friendship Family idea five years ago. Every group has a staff member as a guide for each event, but eighth graders take the lead and execute each activity.

"It has been a wonderful learning experience for all involved,” says Susan Steele, the school principal.